The recent controversy over the NBA All-Star game showed which players had respect for the game and which did not. Tracy McGrady, ichael Jordan and even Allen Iverson all did the right thing. Vince Carter, however, showed that he didn’t learn a thing about respecting the game in his years under Dean Smith at North Carolina.

Tracy McGrady and Allen Iverson both deserved to be on the team. cGrady has averaged 30 points a game so far this year. He is the undisputed leader of the Orlando Magic, and he has become one of the best players in the league since leaving the Toronto Raptors and his cousin, Carter. After being chosen as a starter, he offered his position to Jordan, by saying, “For what Michael Jordan has done for this league and this game, I’ll do anything.” It was a gracious offer by McGrady, and would have allowed Jordan to start in his final All-Star game.

Surprisingly, McGrady was the second player to offer Jordan his starting position. When the starters were announced, Allen Iverson called Jordan and offered his starting spot to him. This was a surprise. Iverson was the last person I would have expected to offer his spot to Jordan. John Thompson must have taught him something about respecting the game of basketball and its history in Iverson’s short time here at Georgetown.

Jordan also made the right choice by graciously turning down the offers of both Iverson and McGrady. He didn’t deserve to start. His play has been good this year, but it has not been up to the level of an All-Star starter. And Jordan knew this. Jordan is one of the most competitive, hard-working players in any sport. If he doesn’t earn it, he doesn’t want it. He didn’t earn a starting spot, and he wasn’t going to take it from a player who had.

The one player who should have offered his spot was Vince Carter. The voters made a mistake in choosing Vince Carter to start for the Eastern All-Stars. He has only played in a handful of games this year. In that short time, he has accomplished almost nothing. He is a shadow of his former self. He hasn’t been the same since the ‘Sixers eliminated Carter’s Raptors three years ago in the playoffs. Since then, he’s been injury prone. His teammates have questioned his drive and commitment, and his opponents have questioned his toughness. Carter has joined Harold “Baby Jordan” Miner and a host of other players who couldn’t live up to the title of “Heir to Jordan’s Throne.” The choice of Carter showed how good the media and the Nike hype machines are. They said he’s still a good player, and the fans believed them.

If Carter had offered his spot to him, Jordan might have accepted his offer. Carter is a fellow Tar Heel, under contract with Nike and didn’t deserve his starting position. It would have been the right thing for Carter, and for the game. Everyone involved would have come out on top.

Carter, however, never considered it. At the very least, it would have been a nice gesture. Instead, he seemed angry that cGrady and Iverson had offered up their spots, saying only, “Congratulations to them.”

Carter blew it by not offering his spot to Jordan. And then, he showed his bitterness that LeBron James has taken his position as the “Next Jordan.” There is only one thing he can do to make up for his mistake.

Vince Carter should offer his spot on the Eastern Conference All-Stars to James. It’s not as if James has anything better to do now that he’s lost his high school eligibility for accepting two throwback jerseys. Just have the Knicks sign him, (He’s going to end up playing for them anyway when they win the lottery) and he can play for the Eastern Conference squad. If the fans could have voted him into the game, they would have. He’s a better player than Carter is, and his play so far this season has been of All-Star quality. He could even pay his mom back for the Hummer.

This is a win-win situation. Carter will look good, LeBron will finally get to play in the NBA, and the fans will get to watch the LeBron experience. The only way it could get better is if LeBron wears his Wes Unseld Jersey.

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